Retro-phone disk
Retro-phone disk

In 2018, the first representatives of the zero generation will reach adulthood. They grew up in a world where a wireless mobile phone has become commonplace for a long time, most of them are used to treating a stationary phone with a disk set as exotic. And those whose childhood and youth were in the “pre-mobile era” remember well the advantages and disadvantages of such devices. Let’s remember the features of such devices, as well as learn the history of their appearance.

The history of the appearance
Mankind has always dreamed of finding a way to quickly transmit information. The first grandiose breakthrough in this field was the invention of the telegraph. Encouraged by this device, many dreamed of an apparatus that will transmit not only signals but also sound.
For the first time the concept of the phone and its name (the combination of the Greek words “far” and “voice”) were invented by the French mechanical engineer Charles Bursel in the middle of the 19th century. However, he did not go further than the theory.
The first device, which can be considered a phone in the usual sense for us, was invented in 1860 by an American Antonio Meucci. Being a pioneer in this field, Meucci tried to patent his invention, but he was ahead of Alexander Bell, who until 2002 was considered the designer of the first phone. Being not only an excellent inventor, but also a great businessman, Bell managed to make a fortune on the phone. For many years he was a leader in this field. This was achieved not only due to the original ideas of the scientist himself, but also due to the fact that his company successfully bought up and implemented the ideas and patents of others.

The first telephones were connected directly with each other. Because of this, subscribers could not call anyone else, which was very impractical. In the future, all devices began to connect to the central station, in which the attendants distributed calls to numbers. Through time this system became automated.

The invention of telephones with a disk set
The advent of the disk device the world owes the paranoia of the undertaker of Kansas City named Almon Strouger. During the next crisis, he decided that the reduction in the number of his clientele is due to the fact that the bribed operator is connecting all the callers to Strouger’s office with his competitors. He was right or wrong, history is silent, however, to protect himself, the undertaker began to look for a way to call without intermediaries.
After six years of work on this project, in 1897 Almon Strouger’s company introduced the world’s first operating disk phone. The success of his invention was colossal, and soon the undertaker’s company became a serious competitor to Bell’s firm. However, Strouder had cooled to his idea by that time. Profitably selling his patents, he retired to rest.
The first models of the disk phone did not have holes for the fingers. Instead, special teeth were present on the apparatus. Only since 1902 the usual holes appeared, and at that time they occupied almost the entire circumference of the disk.
Later, Alexander Bell bought out Strouger’s patents and began to produce new models.

The appearance of a disk phone in the USSR
In the Soviet Union, the first devices with disk dialing were introduced by order of V.I. Lenin in 1918 in the Kremlin. They were part of the government’s secret communications system and were called “turntables”. This term is still used today in the sense of “the telephone of the chief”.
Until 1968, in the USSR, subscriber numbers were hybrid, for this reason, not only ten digits (0-9) but also letters (A, B, C, D, E, F, E , K, A).

Throughout the entire period of the Soviet Union’s existence, communication devices have always been scarce, however, as well as obtaining their own subscriber number.
In the early eighties devices with a disk set gradually began to be replaced by push-button analogs. Most often they were imported.
In the nineties, an avalanche of button telephones from China flooded the expanses of the former USSR, which were simpler and more convenient than their disk counterparts. Over the decade, the latter were almost completely dislodged. And with the advent of mobile and CDMA communications, fixed telephony generally began to give up its positions.